US 7679374 B2
Method for determining loading of a filter. The filter has a first dielectric constant. The filter becomes loaded with contaminant material that has a second dielectric constant. The filter, such as a diesel particulate filter, is contained within a metallic enclosure forming a microwave cavity. The method includes establishing microwave energy in the cavity and monitoring changes in the cavity microwave response, the changes being related to filter loading.
1. A method for determining loading of a particulate filter, wherein the filter is a particulate trap for removing particulate or contaminant matter from the exhaust of an engine, said filter having a first dielectric constant, and said particulate or contaminant material having a second dielectric constant that differs from a dielectric constant of the media which it displaces, the filter contained within a metallic container forming a microwave cavity, the method comprising:
establishing microwave energy in the cavity; and
monitoring changes in quality factor, Q, of a resonant mode in the microwave cavity; and
determining particulate filter loading based on the monitored changes in quality factor Q of the microwave cavity.
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31. A microwave particulate filter loading sensing system kit having component parts capable of being assembled and installed in the field, wherein the filter is a particulate trap for removing particulate or contaminant matter from the exhaust of an engine, the kit comprising:
a particulate filter contained within a housing that forms a microwave cavity; and
one or more antennas to be installed in or on the housing, for monitoring changes in microwave cavity response, the changes being related to filter loading,
a microwave generator and detector to determine a quality factor Q of the cavity; and
processing circuitry to determine the filter loading by computing the quality factor Q of the signal at a resonant mode and monitoring changes in said quality factor Q.
This application claims priority to Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/746,081 filed May 1, 2006, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates to determination of filter loading and more particularly to the use of microwave sensing to determine filter loading.
In many realms there is a need for accurate sensing of the amount of material that has been captured by a filter. An example is the need to determine filter loading of soot on a diesel particulate filter (DPF). The amount of loading on a diesel particulate filter must be known in order to determine appropriate conditions for start-up of regeneration as well as monitoring conditions to determine when complete regeneration has been achieved. The level of loading is important in this context because regeneration of a DPF is often through an uncontrolled burn in which soot is ignited by the presence of free oxygen and a combustion wave is generated through the filter. Under certain conditions, it is possible that regeneration will produce temperatures that are very high resulting in large thermal stresses that can result in limited fatigue life of the filter and ultimately its destruction. Thus, the level of soot loading is important for successful filter regeneration.
It is well known that there are several methods for determining the loading of a filter. The most commonly investigated method is by measurement of the pressure drop across the filter. This method can be combined with expert systems that calculate the amount of soot that has been captured through a cumulative calculation of soot production through an engine.
An object of the present invention is the application of microwave technology to the determination of the status of loading of traps or filters.
The method according to the invention for determining loading of a filter having a first dielectric constant with contaminant material having a second dielectric constant, the filter contained within a metallic container forming a microwave cavity, includes establishing microwave energy in the cavity and monitoring changes in the cavity microwave response. It is necessary that the second dielectric constant be different from that of the media which the contaminant material is displacing, usually air, exhaust gases or a fluid. The changes in cavity microwave response are related to filter loading. In a preferred embodiment, the microwave energy includes multiple cavity modes thereby allowing determination of spatial distribution of the contaminant material loading.
In a preferred embodiment, the microwave cavity response includes a shift in frequency of a resonant mode. Alternatively, the microwave cavity response includes a shift in quality factor Q of a resonant mode. The microwave cavity response may include a shift in amplitude of the microwave's signal at resonance.
It is preferred that at least one antenna be used to transmit/receive microwave energy. In a preferred embodiment, one antenna only is used in a reflection mode to transmit/receive the microwave energy. Two antennas may be used in a transmission mode with one antenna transmitting and the other antenna receiving. Instead of an antenna, at least one waveguide may be used to transmit/receive the microwave energy. In an embodiment, one waveguide is used in reflection mode to transmit/receive the microwave energy. Alternatively, two waveguides may be used in transmission mode with one waveguide transmitting and the other wav guide receiving.
In an important embodiment, the filter is a diesel particulate trap for removing particulate matter from the exhaust of a diesel engine. The particulate matter may be soot.
In still another embodiment, the metallic container includes a cylindrical portion between two transition cones, one of which is connected to an exhaust pipe. The microwave energy may be in the S-band. A preferred filter material is cordierite. Another suitable filter material is silicon carbide. It is preferred that both low order and high order cavity modes are used to monitor trap loading. In this embodiment, it is preferred that the frequency of operation be chosen so that the modes are operating at cutoff at reduced size inlet and outlet pipes of the filter.
When two antennas or waveguides are used, they may be located on opposite sides of the filter or on the same side of the filter. It is preferred that the antennas and waveguides be located on the downstream side of the filter to prevent contamination.
The microwave energy may be provided by a modified microwave chip and the microwave energy may be monitored by a diode with or without amplification. Cavity monitoring may use lock-in detection or hetereodyne detection.
The present invention is based on the recognition that microwaves can be used to determine the status of loading of traps or filters. The loading may be soot, particulates, ash or any solid/liquid. In addition to determining the total amount of loading, the microwave system to be described herein is useful in determining the distribution of the loading throughout the trap. The microwave sensing used in this invention can be inexpensive as inexpensive oscillators and detectors in the frequency range of interest are commercially available.
In the case of a diesel particulate filter, the particulates are made from soot and other organic compounds (solid and/or liquid), and ash. For the purposes of this disclosure, the combination of carbon, organic compounds and ash will be referred to, for simplicity, as soot. Those of skill in the art will recognize that soot and organic compounds are removed through regeneration but ash loading will remain.
Usually, diesel particulate filter units are made of cordierite material which has a dielectric constant at frequencies around S-band, slightly higher than 4, with a weak temperature dependence. The effective dielectric constant of the cordierite filter, which is mainly void with a fraction of cordierite, is around 1.5-1.7, and it is slightly anisotropic because of the orientation dependence of the trap. The presence of soot (which can be as much as 10 g/liter of trap, with the size of the trap being about two liters for 5.66 inch traps) changes the microwave characteristics of the microwave cavity, as the soot has a dielectric constant that is different from the gas (air or exhaust) that it displaces. Thus, the maximum soot loading for this trap could be as high as 20 g with a volume of about 20 cm3. This amount of soot corresponds to a substantial volume and a correspondingly large change in the dielectric characteristics of the trap. It is noted that the dielectric constant of some types of soot is approximately 2.
Silicon carbide is also suitable for the manufacture of a diesel particulate filter. The microwave properties of silicon carbide also make it suitable for the use of microwaves for loading sensing. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the microwave load sensing technology disclosed herein can be used, for example, to determine the loading of fiber filters (organic and inorganic fibers), such as those used in bag-houses, and in other applications where substantial masses/volumes of materials that have non-unity dielectric constants are collected.
Ash content, which is not removed through regeneration, can be monitored if substantial ash amounts build with time on the trap.
Low order cavity modes as well as high order modes can be used to monitor the trap loading. Different cavity modes have different electric field patterns with peaks and nulls that vary across the volume. Since for a given cavity mode only the presence of soot in those regions with high electric field affects the microwave response in the cavity. By choosing different modes in the cavity it is possible to sample different regions and thus obtain information on the soot distribution.
The theory on which the present invention is based will now be discussed briefly. The presence of soot affects the cavity response in several ways. The resonant frequency shifts to lower frequencies with soot buildup. In addition, the cavity quality Q is affected by the presence of absorbing soot. Further, the amplitude of the signal at resonance decreases with soot buildup. All three of these parameters can be used to determine the soot level. Several modes can be used to monitor the loading in various regions of the diesel particulate filter.
The invention will now be described in conjunction with the figures. With reference first to
Because of the conical transition sections 14 and 16, the frequency of operation can be chosen so that the modes are operating below cutoff at the small inlet and outlet pipes of the trap, with the frequency such that the modes are operating below cutoff on main exhaust pipe 18. It is not necessary to provide screens to confine the microwave radiation. In the embodiment of
With reference now to
It is possible to use a single antenna (rod or loop), as well as a single waveguide, or to use two antennas or waveguides. In the case of a single antenna/waveguide, the information is in the reflected signal. In the case of separate antennas/waveguides for transmitter/receiver it is possible to choose between reflection or transmission modes. In the case of two antennas/waveguides, there are four elements in the coupling matrix that could be used to determine soot loading: transmission from one antenna/waveguide to the other, the reverse, and reflection in each antenna/waveguide.
As shown in
In operation, microwave energy is established within the cavity of the device 10. There are a large number of modes that can be used to determine the trap loading.
The microwave sensing system disclosed herein can use inexpensive components with the microwave source being a modified microwave chip such as those used in cell phones, and the receiver can be a simple diode with or without amplification. The detection system can use advanced detection systems such as lock-in detection, heterodyne detection and others.
Although the loading has been assumed to be of soot (as from a diesel engine), any matter that builds in a substantial amount on the surface of a filter can be measured as long as it has a dielectric constant different from the background filter material (one in the case of air/engine exhaust).
The system can be used to monitor the health of the trap. When substantial cracks are present in the system, soot distribution changes, and becomes inhomogeneous.
In addition, it may be possible to use the temperature dependence of the cordierite to monitor temperature across the trap.
Although the description refers to the use of a single DPF in the can, the approach is also applicable to the case of multiple filters in a single can.
The filtering monitoring system can be either original equipment, as well as be used as refrofits.
It is recognized that modifications and variations of the invention will occur to those of ordinary skill in the art and it is intended that all such modifications and variations be included within the scope of the appended claims.